We are spoiled for so many things here in Australia… The outback, the beaches, the tropics…. But one of my favourite places to escape to on holiday is the wilderness. Pristine landscapes covered in a dense patchwork of vegetation from rainforests to highlands, with unspoiled habitats and rich and diverse plants and animals. Locations that almost feel untouched by humans.
I love to stay somewhere as close to nature as possible and spend our days out exploring it. Biking, hiking, swimming…. Simply immersing ourselves in the fresh air and breathtaking sights, sounds and smells. Nothing is more invigorating.
Tasmania has to be one of the best examples in the country. With more than 40% of its land reserved as national parks and world heritage wilderness, you are spoiled for choice with destinations that have barely been touched by people. The protection of their natural assets is one of Tassie’s prides and joy – and we, as visitors, reap the benefits.
It’s cooler climate means that Tasmania is perfect for so many wilderness experiences – the heat doesn’t stop you from getting physical like it does in more northern climes. So quite literally, the sky is the limit for the ways you can get out and explore the Tassie wilderness, and here are some of our favourite things to do.
Nothing is easier or more accessible than simply pulling on a pair of sturdy walking shoes and hitting the trails. Cradle Mountain has to top the list for walking opportunities. Not only is there the famous, multi-day Overland Track hike, but also the network of walks that can be easily done in a day or less. One of our favourites is the 6km circuit around Dove Lake. To simply appreciate the postcard-like picture of the national park with its iconic peaks, this is a must. Much of it is boardwalk, leaving you free to simply appreciate the views which include Cradle Mountain, the ancient Ballroom Forest, and the occasional platypus or echidna.
Another favourite walk is the track to the Wineglass Bay lookout, in Freycinet National Park. Best done at sunrise or sunset when the nearby Hazards glow pink, the walk is only around 45 minutes and you are rewarded with views over one of Australia’s most famous beaches. Extend you walk and head down to the beach itself after the ascent and you might even have it all to yourself.
Finally, a walk in the Blue Tier Plateau in the states North-East might be a little less known, but is very much worth the effort. Just a little inland from the popular Bay of Fires region, there are a network of walking trails in this sub-alpine plateau which is around 600m above sea level. Our walk there took us past the Blue Tier Giant, Australia’s widest living tree with a girth of 19.4m.
At the top of the 2 hour return circuit were views stretching out to the sea, and I might also add that our 5 year old daughter was easily able to complete the walk at the time.
Another Freycinet favourite… kayaking the coastline. Departing from the small village of Coles Bay near Freycinet National Park, this sea kayaking adventure lets you explore wilderness that would otherwise be unreachable.
Skim over pristine waters so clear you can see the marine life below, enjoy unique views of The Hazards above you. Wildlife may even join you on your journey as you weave along the coastline.
Even just outside Tasmania’s capital cities, there are incredible wilderness experiences to be found. Mt Wellington overlooks the city of Hobart and on a fine day, the views from the top are mind-boggling.
Our favourite way to get back down is by mountain bike, a thrilling adventure that takes you 21km through sub-alpine landscapes and mountain rainforest all the way to the sea.
Being an island, Tasmania is surrounded by opportunities to experience life on the water – and we love exploring some of its best wilderness locations by boat.
From the award winning Bruny Island Cruises, a 3 hour eco-cruise around the rugged Bruny Island coastline, witnessing some of Australia’s highest sea cliffs, deep sea caves and South Bruny National Park, to some of the inland adventures, such as the Gordon River Cruise near Strahan, an amazing insight into Tasmania’s natural wilderness deep within the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.
Swimming might be a little trickier in the state of Tasmania thanks to its cooler waters, however, there are still plenty of opportunities to get yourself wet.
We donned steamer wetsuits to snorkel in The Gulch at the entrance to the Bay of Fires, and discovered a distinctive underwater wilderness. Our main goal was to find abalone but we also discovered unique varieties of kelp and the rare weedy seadragon.
A perfect way to warm up afterwards was a coastal walk along the Bay of Fires beaches afterwards…. Fine white sand, turquoise waters and red-lichen covered rocks form the most iconic landscape and the best part of all, is that you often have it all to yourself.
Camping & Caravanning
One of the best ways to experience nature is to sleep in it! I love the way camping and caravanning allow you to feel like you never truly go ‘inside’ – even though you are protected by the nylon of the tent or the caravan/campervan walls. You can still hear the sounds of the environment throughout the night – birds, waves, wind, trees… It’s such a departure from your ordinary life that you truly appreciate where you are.
Tassie has some of the best located Holiday Parks that I have experienced. The BIG4 Discovery Parks – Cradle Mountain is right on the edge of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park and we were surrounded by pristine bushland and even had some local wallabies and their joeys greet us at our campsite.
The BIG4 Iluka on Freycinet is directly opposite Muirs Beach on Coles Bay, affording incredible access to the world-class wilderness right on your doorstep.
Of course, a holiday in the wilderness is not just for people who like to get active. It is also perfect for those who just want to relax. The natural environment couldn’t be better for refreshing the mind and soul as you simply enjoy being amongst it. Escaping civilisation and surrounding yourself with the wild, from the fresh air, to the forests, the sights and sounds of nature and sometimes, even just getting ‘off the grid’.
Bruny Island, one of our favourite spots in Tassie, is perfect for this. Enterprising locals are so incredibly proud of their little patch of paradise and they are crafting amazing food and wine opportunities out of the local environment. So you can relax, take in the stunning scenery, and enjoy local cheese, cider, oysters and more, without lifting much more than a finger.
St Helens and the Bay of Fires is also high on the list – simply wander (or lie on, depending on the time of year) the iconic beach, framed by the turquoise water, white sand and red-lichen covered boulders and relax. Take some just-caught-that-day seafood back to your accommodation and tuck in. Or jump on the glass bottomed boat, a little further south in Bicheno, to discover the incredible underwater wilderness at your leisure.
What are your favourite wilderness experiences? Tell us in the comments below!
Tasmania has some of the most diverse, remote and wild outdoor experiences in Australia. Over a third of the island is protected as parks, reserves and world heritage areas. Within hours of your arrival, fiercely diverse landscapes become your constant companion, as outdoor escape turns into an epic adventure. Go behind the scenery and discover Tasmania today.